Littlefriends.co.uk
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Littlefriends.co.uk One of the major factors influencing the success or failure of strategic bombing missions in the European Theatre of Operations (ETO) was the severe weather conditions often encountered over the United Kingdom and mainland Europe. Weather forecasting and reconnaissance was in its infancy and although various aircraft, including the DeHaviland Mosquito, were used to help forecast weather over the target areas, it was still very much a hit and miss arrangement at best. Col. Bud J Peaslee, Commanding Officer of the 384th Bomb Group knew the problem only too well. He had led bomber formations that had been forced to turn back due to impenetrable cloud cover obscuring not just the target but the entire route to and from it. Bud realised that it would be of great benefit to have someone scouting the route out up ahead and reporting back, to enable formation leaders make informed decisions concerning the viability of the mission. Navies have frigates and armies have reconnaissance units to help commanders engage the enemy so why not the bomber formations? Fortunately, Col. Peaslee had the ear of high command and discussed the matter with General Doolitle.

 
  
Littlefriends.co.uk General Doolittle liked the idea and, based on availability of the only aircraft capable of making it all the way to the targets with the bombers, the mighty P-51 Mustang, authorized Budd Peaslee to test the idea. In June 1944, supported by the 355th Fighter Group, the Scouting Force (Experimental) (SFX) was formed at Steeple Morden, England. Budd arrived with 8 volunteer bomber pilots who had completed their combat tours. The 355th furnished 12 aircraft, Crew Chiefs and Assistants, quarters and all logistical support needed by the Scouts. The 355th also furnished 8 fighter pilots to fly wing on the bomber-lads. The idea was for the bomber pilots, who knew the bomber problems, to lead all aspects of the mission other than combat. When enemy fighters were encountered, the fighter pilot slipped into the lead. Eventually the bomber pilots became pretty good fighter pilots themselves. On 16 July 1944, the SFX flew its first mission and continued on to prove the Scouting Force concept with the 35th and final successful mission completed on 12 September 1944.

 
  
Littlefriends.co.uk The primary objective of the Scouting Force was to get the bombers through the weather to the target for the most effective bombing effort. To accomplish this, a number of specific actions were required. These were: • helping the Squadrons, Groups, Wings and Divisions to form up over England • leading the bomber stream through bad weather • appraising the mission commander of weather at the primary, secondary, & tertiary targets • helping tighten bomber formations • defending the bomber stream against enemy fighters. Barely 5 missions into the experiment, General Doolittle knew he had a winner and authorized a Scouting Force for each Air Division. The paper wheels began to turn and on 14 August 1944, 2nd Scouting Force Commander, Lt. Col. John A Brooks III, reported to Steeple Morden for training with the Experimental Scouts. On 25 August, Lt. Col. Vincent W. Masters of the 385th Bomb Group was chosen as 3rd Scouting Force Commander. Colonel Budd Peaslee was, of course, to lead the 1st Scouting Force.

 
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Col. Bud Peaslee. SFX/1SF (ex 384th BG). P-51D 44-13283 YF-A "Carolyn Ann".

Photo: Harold Strain
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Col. Bud Peaslee. SFX/1SF (ex 384th BG). P-51D 44-13283 YF-A "Carolyn Ann".

Photo: Al Brooks
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Col. Bud Peaslee. SFX/1SF (ex 384th BG). P-51D 44-13283 YF-A "Carolyn Ann". SFX aircraft retained the 355th FG white spinner and nose band but underscored the 355th FG squadron code letters to designate Scouting Force use. The code letters of WR, OS and YF in this respect indicated the 355th FG squadron that provided crew and maintenance facilities.

Profile by Nick King
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. William A Cox. SFX/1SF (ex 355th FG). P-51D 44-13699 OS-D "GI Jive".

Photo: Bill Cox
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. William A Cox. SFX/1SF (ex 355th FG). P-51D 44-13699 OS-D "GI Jive".

Photo: Bill Cox
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. William A Cox. SFX/1SF (ex 355th FG). P-51D 44-13699 OS-D "GI Jive". Bill Cox seen in the cockpit of “GI Jive” in this front 3/4 view.

Photo: Bill Cox
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. William A Cox. SFX/1SF (ex 355th FG). P-51D 44-13699 OS-D "GI Jive". Crew Chief S/Sgt. Hartsough seen on the wing admiring the artwork on “GI Jive”. Assistant c.c. in shot is currently unknown.

Photo: Bill Cox
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. Clifford R Buckles. SFX/1SF (ex 355th FG). P-51D 44-13279 OS-M "Lois".

Photo: Cliff Buckles
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. Clifford R Buckles. SFX/1SF (ex 355th FG). P-51D 44-13279 OS-M "Lois".

Photo: Cliff Buckles
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. Sumner C Williams. SFX/2SF (ex 355th FG). P-51D 44-13349 WR-W "Margie II".

Photo: Bill Marshall
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. Sumner C Williams. SFX/2SF (ex 355th FG). P-51D 44-13349 WR-W "Margie II".

Photo: Bill Marshall
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Capt. Ernest L Burdge. SFX/1SF (ex 92nd BG). P-51D 44-13728 OS-G.

Photo: Al. Brooks
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Capt. Ernest L Burdge. SFX/1SF (ex 92nd BG). P-51D 44-13728 OS-G. The nickname on this a/c is currently unknown.

Photo: 355 FG Association
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Capt. Fred Brown. SFX/1SF (ex 401st BG). P-51D 44-13709 YF-H "Frances Ann".

Photo: Al. Brooks
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Capt. Fred Brown. SFX/1SF (ex 401st BG). P-51D 44-13709 YF-H "Frances Ann".

Photo: Ray Shewfelt
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. Russell I McNally. SFX/1SF (ex 355th FG). P-51D 44-13659 YF-J "Morphine Sue II".

Photo: Bill Marshall
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. Russell I McNally. SFX/1SF (ex 355th FG). P-51D 44-13659 YF-J "Morphine Sue II".

Photo: Russ McNally
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. Russell I McNally. SFX/1SF (ex 355th FG). P-51D 44-13659 YF-J "Morphine Sue II". “Sue” is seen here on her nose at Steeple Morden on 31 August 1944. The pilot involved in this mishap was Capt. Dwight W Hartman. Russ completed 15 of his 28 Scouting Force missions in this aircraft with the final trip coming on 18 August 1944. He flew a total of 77 missions with the 355th and the SFX beginning on 25 April 1944 and was rotated back to the US in late September 1944. After Russ completed his tour, “Sue” continued on with the First Scouts and was transferred to Honington with them in early September where she picked up the 5E code of 364th Fighter Group's 385th Fighter Squadron becoming 5E-J.

Photo: Ray Shewfelt
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Capt. Richard M Dillon. SFX/1SF(ex 355th FG). P-51D 44-13686 YF-N "Rugged Rebel III".

Photo: Ray Shewfelt
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Capt. Richard M Dillon. SFX/1SF (ex 355th FG). P-51D 44-13686 YF-N "Rugged Rebel III".

Photo: Dick Dillon
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt.Col Gerald C Price. SFX (ex 8th HQ). P-51D 44-13636 WR-B "The Starduster”. Col. Price was killed in a training accident on 23 August 1944 when flying this a/c. The wings pulled off the a/c whilst trying to recover from a high speed dive over the village of Didington. At the time he was second in command to Bud Peaslee and was succeeded by Lt.Col. Al Brooks

Photo: Tom Schellinger (Crew Chief)
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Capt. Vincent G Dressendorfer (ex 305th BG) P-51D 44-13553 WR-C

Photo: Harold Strain
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. Maynard Frey (ex 91st BG)

Photo: Harold Strain
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. James L Kilmer (ex355th FG). P-51D 44-13611 WR-L

Photo: Bill Marshall
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Capt. Dale McCrory (ex 381st BG)

Photo: Harold Strain
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. Phillip M McHugh (ex 355th FG)

Photo: Bill Marshall
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. Thomas J Taylor (ex 355th FG) P-51D 44-14428 YF-A.

Photo: Bill Marshall
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Capt. Earl N Thomas (ex 303rd BG)

Photo: Harold Strain
  
Littlefriends.co.uk The SFX departed Steeple Morden on 19 September 1944 to become the 1st Scouting Force at it's new base at Honington, where it joined forces with the 1st Air Division’s 364th Fighter Group. The 364th provided logistics support and rotated it's fighter pilot's on 2 week tours with the Scouts. Ultimately several of the 364th pilots transferred to the Scouts and finished the war with them. Some 107 missions were flown from Honington before the 1st was transferred to Bassingbourn and redesignated the 857th Bomb Squadron. Now the guys could get their well deserved promotions! At Bassingbourn, the unit was taken over by Lt. Col. Allison C. Brooks, Deputy Commander of the 1st who had served with Budd Peaslee since late August in Steeple Morden. A total of 24 missions were flown from Bassingbourn.

 
  
Littlefriends.co.uk When the SFX moved to Honington as the 1st Scouting Force, the original cadre retained their 355th Fighter Group aircraft but converted to the code letters of the 364th Fighter Group Squadron to which they were attached. This was N2 (383FS), 5Y (384FS) and 5E (385 FS). In addition, they created a unique 1SF colour scheme. This consisted of a red spinner backed by a white nose band and a red border around the complete vertical and horizontal tail planes. There was at least one exception to this scheme as Bill Schofield's "Francisco" retained the 364th FG scheme of alternate blue and white bars around the nose band.

 
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt.Col. Alison C Brooks. SFX/1SF (ex 401st BG). Deputy Commander of SFX and subsequently Commanding Officer 1st Scouting Force.

Photo: Al Brooks
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt.Col. Alison C Brooks. SFX/1SF (ex 401st BG). P-51D 44-13686 5E-N "Rugged Rebel". The Rebel is seen here in under unhappier circumstances when Lt. John J Allen suffered engine failure on take off at Honington on 17 October 1944.

Photo: Ray Shewfelt
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt.Col. Alison C Brooks. SFX/1SF (ex 401st BG). P-51D 44-13686 5E-N "Rugged Rebel". This was originally Dick Dillons XF-N “Rugged Rebel III” with the SFX but Dick did not go with it to the 1SF due to being hospitalized with appendicitis. Al Brooks took it as his assigned a/c with the 1SF, deleting the “III” from the name. On release from hospital, Dillon went to the 2SF where his next P-51 became “Rugged Rebel IV”.

Profile by Nick King
  
Littlefriends.co.uk 1st Scouting Force pilots in front of William A Cox's "G.I.Jive" From L – R: Capt. Phil Algar, Lt. Cliff Buckles, Lt. Bill Cox, Capt. Dwight Hartman, Lt. Bill Schofield, Lt. Fred Brown, and Lt. Frank Hoder. “G.I.Jive” now seen in the newly adopted 1SF nose band.

Photo: William A Cox
  
Littlefriends.co.uk The guys who keep 'em flying - Maintenance Section - 1st Scouts. From L - R (Front) Swinder, Gunner, Bilewsky, Thompson, Doring, Sargent, Murry, Putt, Satt, Jackson, Fuller. (Middle) Dupay, Laforge, Fudales, Iauto, Insulaco, Mulkey, Hopp, O'Donnell, Franks, Krysko, Connors, Scott (Back) Jackson, Montenegro, Faison, Bybe, Stimich, Randolph, Lucky, Roy, Morinsky, Weipzinski, Shepard, Doran, Simpson, Wilbur, Brilling, Baker, Lt. Christiansen (Engineering Officer), M/Sgt. Vorhees (Line Chief)

Photo: Tex Baker
  
Littlefriends.co.uk 1st Scouting Force Personnel November 1944. From L - R (Standing) Andy Peterson - Adjutant; Robert Van Beynum - Intelligence; Dwight Hartman & Dick Smith - pilots; Harold Strain - Navigator; John Allen, Bill Schofield & William E Cox - Pilots; Herman Meyer - Weather Officer. (Front L to R) Pilots - Edwin Post, Bob Burkholder, Phil Algar, Col. Peaslee, Francis Clark, Cliff Buckles and Dale McCory

Photo: Harold Strain
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. George F Adams (ex 401st BG)

Photo: Al Brooks
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Capt. Philip M Algar (ex 384th BG)

Photo: Al Brooks
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. John J Allen (ex 306th BG). P-51D 44-13891 5E-G. The a/c is seen here following engine failure on take off at Honington on 11 October 1944. Pilot at the time was Lt. Norman L Box of 385th FS 364th FG on TDY with 1SF.

Photo: USAF
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Capt. Carroll D “Dale” Briscoe (ex 306th BG)

Photo: Al Brooks
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. Fred (NMI) Brown Jr. (ex 401st BG). P-51D 44-13709 5E-H "Frances Ann". The remains of the SFX code of YF-H may still be seen. The picture was taken at Deenethorpe, home of 401st BG probably in early 1945. It is believed that the unit spent a few days there due to maintenance at home airfield of Honington. The Commanding Officer Lt.Col. Allison C Brooks was also a former pilot with 401st.

Photo: David Knight
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. Robert C Burkholder (ex 457th BG). P-51D 5E-# “The Little Duchess”

Photo: Al Brooks
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. Francis C Clark (ex 398th BG)

Photo: Al Brooks
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. William E Cox (ex 401st Bomb Group). P-51D 44-13754 9H-F. Lt Cox suffered loss of power flying this a/c on a mission to Kiel on 3 April 1945. He dropped into cloud over the Flensberg Estuary in an attempt to make Sweden but was not heard from again.

Photo: Al Brooks
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. Merrill J DuMont (ex 303rd BG) P-51D 44-13659 9H-J “Chip

Photo: Al Brooks
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. Merrill J DuMont (ex 303rd BG) P-51D 44-13659 9H-J “Chip”. This a/c was previously Russ McNally’s “Morphine Sue” with the SFX.

Photo: USAF
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. Merrill J DuMont (ex 303rd BG) P-51D 44-13659 9H-J “Chip”.

Photo: USAF
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. William D Hall (ex 381st BG)

Photo: Al Brooks
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Capt. Dwight W Hartman (ex 305th BG)

Photo: Al Brooks
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. Frank J Hoder. (ex 351st BG)

Photo: Al Brooks
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. Rex F Huffman. P-51D 44-14933 5E-X. Lt Huffman was a 364th FG 383rd FS pilot on TDY with 1SF. He crash-landed this a/c in Belgium on 3 February 1945. cause unknown.

Photo: USAF
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. Elwood J Rosenbauer. P-51D 44-72497 9H-H “Bit O’ Heaven”. From L-R is Lt. John Simpson, S/Sgt. James Gonyo (crew chief of 9H-H) and Lt. Elwood J Rosenbauer.

Photo: Lt. Rosenbauer
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. Elwood J Rosenbauer. P-51D 44-72497 9H-H “Bit O’ Heaven”. Lt. Rosenbauer is seen here showing the artwork on his A2 which reads "The No 1 Raiders".

Photo: Lt. Rosenbauer
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. Elwood J Rosenbauer. P-51D 44-72497 9H-H “Bit O’ Heaven”. Lt. Rosenbauer had previously flown with the 356th FG's 361st FS prior to moving to the 1SF.

Photo: Lt. Rosenbauer via Beau Brandt
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. Elwood J Rosenbauer. P-51D 44-72497 9H-H “Bit O’ Heaven”.

Profile by Nick King
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. William E Schofield (ex 379th BG) P-51D 44-14189 5E-R “Francisco!”

Photo: Harold Strain
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. William E Schofield (ex 379th BG) P-51D 44-14189 5E-R “Francisco!” Francisco is seen here on 4 December 1944 when Bill Schofield belly-landed at Honington, having run out of gas. Note the 364th FG blue/white nose band still evident but the 1SF red outlined tail surfaces.

Photo: Harold Strain
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. Richard L “Spider” Smith (ex 303rd BG). P-51D 44-13557 5E-E “Easy Does It”.

Photo: Spider Smith
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. Richard L “Spider” Smith (ex 303rd BG). P-51D 44-13557 5E-E “Easy Does It”. View of starboard side showing the name “Betty” on the canopy rail. Lettering of Easy Does It is almost worn away on the cowl.

Photo: Spider Smith
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. Richard L “Spider” Smith (ex 303rd BG). P-51D 44-13557 5E-E “Easy Does It”. Port side showing the name “Spider” on the canopy rail.

Photo: Spider Smith
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. Richard L “Spider” Smith (ex 303rd BG). P-51D 44-13557 5E-E “Easy Does It”.

Profile by Nick King
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. Richard L “Spider” Smith (ex 303rd BG). P-51D 44-13557 5E-E “Easy Does It”. This photo was taken on 9 December 1944, a particularly cold day, when Spider skidded on the icy taxiway turning the rear end of 44-13709 N2-H "Frances Ann" into scrap. Surprisingly, the a/c was repaired and was finally written off as salvage on 21 September 1945.

Photo: Harold Strain
  
Littlefriends.co.uk P-51D 44-13709 N2-H was the other a/c involved in Spider’s accident, being taxied at the time by Lt. Ellis J Wheless, one of the 364th FG pilots on TDY with 1SF.

Photo: Harold Strain
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. Dominic T Taurone (ex 351st BG). P-51D 44-14262 9H-Y.

Photo: Al Brooks
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. Dominic T Taurone (ex 351st BG). P-51D 44-14262 9H-Y. This photo was taken at Bassingbourn on 12 April 1945 when Lt. Taurone demonstrated how to land directly out of a loop. Unfortunately he forgot to put the undercarriage down. Crew Chief Sgt. Alvin “Tex” Baker was not amused!

Photo: Harold Strain
  
Littlefriends.co.uk 1st Scouting Force P-51D 44-13764 5E-B. Pilot is Phil Algar on his way to Grafton Underwood for the 200th mission party of his old unit the 384th BG. This a/c was lost on 15 February 1945 with F/O Irvin E Lang being killed in action.

Photo: Anthony Plowright
  
Littlefriends.co.uk P-51B 42-106727 5E-T of 1SF Clobber College. It was later named "Terrible Tommie" due to code letter "T". Photo taken by Spider Smith whilst training new Scouts in formation flying.

Photo: Spider Smith
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Capt. John W Simpson, 1SF, ex 356th Fighter Group. P-51D 44-72239 9H-Z "Zoom Zoozie"

Photo: Nathan Howland
  
Littlefriends.co.uk John Brooks formed the 2nd Scouting Force at Steeple Morden where it stayed for the rest of the war. It too was supported by the 355th Fighter Group. Unlike either of it's counterparts, the 2nd had it's fighter pilots drawn from fighter groups throughout the 8th Air Force and permanently assigned to the 2SF. The 2nd flew it's first mission on 26 September 1944 and it's final sortie on 21 April 1945. A total of 136 missions were accomplished.

 
  
Littlefriends.co.uk The 2nd Scouting Force set up shop at Steeple Morden in August 1944 and began assembling it's new stable of P-51Ds. John Brooks decided to retain the colours of the SFX but modified the code by placing the Scouting Force bar above the squadron letters instead of below. John's new P-51 44-14309 was named Calamity Jane in honour of his new bride Janie Brooks and he chose YF-X as his code. These markings were retained throughout the tenure of 2SF at Steeple Morden. NOTE 2SF codes were overscored but are not shown here due to text limitations.

 
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt.Col. John A Brooks III. Commanding Officer 2nd Scouting Force, ex 389th Bomb Group & 96th Combat Bomb Wing. P-51D 44-14309 YF-X "Calamity Jane" (L) "Punkin" (R).

Photo: Eleo Decima
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt.Col. John A Brooks III. Commanding Officer 2nd Scouting Force, ex 389th Bomb Group & 96th Combat Bomb Wing. P-51D 44-14309 YF-X "Calamity Jane" (L) "Punkin" (R).

Photo: Gen. John A Brooks
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt.Col. John A Brooks III. Commanding Officer 2nd Scouting Force, ex 96th Combat Bomb Wing. P-51D 44-14309 YF-X "Calamity Jane" (L) "Punkin" (R).

Photo: Gen. John A Brooks
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt.Col. John A Brooks III. Commanding Officer 2nd Scouting Force, ex 96th Combat Bomb Wing. P-51D 44-14309 YF-X "Calamity Jane" (L) "Punkin" (R) named in honour of his wife Jane Brooks, "Punkin" being his "pet name" for her.

Profile by Nick King
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt.Col. Frank Elliott. 2nd Scouting Force, ex 466th Bomb Group. P-51D 44-63219 OS-Y "Fnoodle (L) Nonnie (R).

Photo: Ross Elliott
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt.Col. Frank Elliott. 2nd Scouting Force, ex 466th Bomb Group. P-51D 44-63219 OS-Y "Fnoodle (L) Nonnie (R). Crew chief S/Sgt. Russell Pruitt stands on the wing whilst Frank chats to assistant crew chief Sgt. Pat Brennan.

Photo: Frank Elliott
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Capt. Robert V Whitlow. Operations Officer, 2nd Scouting Force, ex 445th Bomb Group. P-51D 44-14460 WR-R “Hi Nell”

Photo: Frank Elliott
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. William Whalen. 2nd Scouting Force, ex 4th Fighter Group. P-51D 44-14300 WR-A. Seen in a sorry state, 44-14300 was crash-landed due to engine failure by Lt. Whalen on 11 December 1944. Location of the crash is 2 miles east of Station 356 – Debden, his previous base with 4th FG.

Photo: Ray Shewfelt
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. William Whalen. 2nd Scouting Force, ex 4th Fighter Group. P-51D 44-14300 WR-A. Broadside view of the crash detailed above.

Photo: Ray Shewfelt
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. George Ceglarski. 2nd Scouting Force, ex 4th Fighter Group. P-51K 44-11341 YF-D "Sweet Stuff II".

Photo: Charles Rodebaugh
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Capt. Richard Dillon. 2nd Scouting Force, ex 355th Fighter Group. P-51D 44-63739 YF-Q "Rugged Rebel V". Capt. Dillon pictured here with his crew chief S/Sgt. W A Nelson.

Photo: John Brooks
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Capt. Richard Dillon. 2nd Scouting Force, ex 355th Fighter Group. P-51D 44-63739 YF-Q "Rugged Rebel V".

Photo: Dick Dillon
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. John Gerber. 2nd Scouting Force, ex 56th Fighter Group. P-51D 44-14997 OS-U "Restless Ruthie".

Photo: Charles Rodebaugh
  
Littlefriends.co.uk 2nd Scouting Force P-51D 44-14997 OS-U "Butch". The identity of "Butch" is currently uncertain but it could possibly be the right side of Lt. John Miller’s "Li'l Speedy".

Photo: Ray Shewfelt
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Capt. Charles W “Bill” Getz. 2nd Scouting Force, ex 491st Bomb Group. P-51D 44-14371 WR-Z "Saucy Shirley".

Photo: Bill Getz
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Capt. Charles W “Bill” Getz. 2nd Scouting Force, ex 491st Bomb Group. P-51D 44-14371 WR-Z "Saucy Shirley".

Profile by Nick King
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. William E Hornickel. 2nd Scouting Force, ex 4th Fighter Group. Details of Lt. Hornickel's assigned a/c are currently uncertain. He was killed in action on 17 January 1945 when he bailed out after having been hit by flak near Wangerooge. At the time he was flying P-51D 44-14581 YF-W "Honeychild 3rd" of Lt. Robert E Williams.

Photo: Charles Rodebaugh
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. Glen D Lindley. 2nd Scouting Force, ex 479th Fighter Group. P-51D 44-14441 WR-S "Ellen II".

Photo: Charles Rodebaugh
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Capt. Robert F Moore. 2nd Scouting Force, ex 445th Bomb Group. P-51D 44-##### WR-B "Madge II".

Photo: Charles Rodebaugh
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. Thomas H Orrick. 2nd Scouting Force, ex 479th Fighter Group. P-51D 44-##### OS-G.

Photo: Charles Rodebaugh
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. Charles R Rodebaugh. 2nd Scouting Force, ex 355th Fighter Group. P-51D 44-63767 YF-W "Ruthie II", named for his wife Ruth. His earlier P-51D with the 355th Fighter Group was 44-63677 WR-O “Ruthie R”.

Photo: Charles Rodebaugh
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. Charles R Rodebaugh. 2nd Scouting Force, ex 355th Fighter Group. P-51D 44-63767 YF-W "Ruthie II".

Photo: Charles Rodebaugh
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. Charles R Rodebaugh. 2nd Scouting Force, ex 355th Fighter Group. P-51D 44-63767 YF-W "Ruthie II". Lt. Rodebaugh is seen here with an earlier YF-W “Honeychild 3rd” of Lt. Robert E Williams.

Photo: Charles Rodebaugh
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. Ray L Shewfelt. 2nd Scouting Force, ex 479th Fighter Group. P-51D 44-14524 YF-M "Li'l Larry II" (L) "Yo.o.o!!" (R).

Photo: Ray Shewfelt
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. Ray L Shewfelt. 2nd Scouting Force, ex 479th Fighter Group. P-51D 44-14524 YF-M "Li'l Larry II" (L) "Yo.o.o!!" (R). Larry was Ray's baby son who he had not seen prior to going overseas.

Photo: Ray Shewfelt
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. Ray L Shewfelt. 2nd Scouting Force, ex 479th Fighter Group. P-51D 44-14524 YF-M "Li'l Larry II" (L) "Yo.o.o!!" (R). YF-M is seen here on 8 April 1945 after Ray "tripped over" the psp matting at landing field Y-1 Tantonville, France.

Photo: Ray Shewfelt
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. Ray L Shewfelt. 2nd Scouting Force, ex 479th Fighter Group. P-51D 44-14524 YF-M "Li'l Larry II" (L) "Yo.o.o!!" (R).

Profile by Nick King
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. Sumner C Williams. 2nd Scouting Force, ex 355th Fighter Group. P-51D 44-##### WR-W "Margie III".

Photo: Bill Marshall
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Capt. Roger Counselman. 2nd Scouting Force, ex 453rd Bomb Group. P-51D “June Bug” serial # and code currently unknown.

Photo: John Brooks
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Capt. Robert A Edmonson. 2nd Scouting Force, ex 44th Bomb Group. P-51D “Sassy Shari” serial # and code currently unknown.

Photo: John Brooks
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. Leon H Marmon. 2nd Scouting Force, ex 361st Fighter Group. P-51K 44-11218 WR-S “Li’l Filly”.

Photo: Charles Rodebaugh
  
Littlefriends.co.uk 2nd Scouting Force Operational Personnel. See enlargement for details.

Photo: Eleo Decima
* Additional data
  
Littlefriends.co.uk After completing the fighter transition course at Goxhill, the 3rd Scouting Force formed at Wormingford where it was supported by the 55th Fighter Group. Initially, fighter pilots of the 55th Fighter Group were assigned to fly with the bomber Scouts, however, this was short lived and the bomber pilots were soon acting as their own escorts. The first mission was flown on 15 September 1944. They went on to complete 140 P-51 missions on 21 April 1945. The 3rd had the distinction of having B-17's added to their ranks in February 1945 when the 862nd Bomb Squadron arrived, unannounced. The B-17s operated separately from the P-51s and were used for general weather recon over England and the English Channel.

 
  
Littlefriends.co.uk The 3rd Scouting Force was formed at Wormingford in August 1944 and was attached to the 55th Fighter Group. The unit retained the 55th's squadron codes - CG (38 FS), CL (338 FS) and CY (343 FS). The 3rd SF unique marking was a red border to the horizontal and vertical tail planes and a red/white checkerboard rudder. The 3rd SF remained at Wormingford for their entire tour. In February 1945 they became the 862nd Bomb Squadron but no change in markings has been recorded.

 
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt.Col. Vincent W Masters. Commanding Officer, 3rd Scouting Force, ex 385th Bomb Group. P-51D 44-14053 CG-M "Masters Mistress".

Photo: Dr. Vince Masters
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt.Col. Vincent W Masters. Commanding Officer, 3rd Scouting Force, ex 385th Bomb Group. P-51D 44-14053 CG-M "Masters Mistress".

Photo: Dr. Vince Masters
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt.Col. Vincent W Masters. Commanding Officer, 3rd Scouting Force, ex 385th Bomb Group. P-51D 44-14053 CG-M "Masters Mistress".

Profile by Nick King
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Original cadre of 3rd Scouting Force pilots being introduced to the P-51. From L-R they are: Unidentified Instructor, Herb "Hot Shot" Howard, Orvid V. Lancaster, Luverne Abendroth, Andy Fuller, Wes Lundholm, Bill Sandblom, Don Gutherie and Stan Gagon.

Photo: O.V. Lancaster
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Flight of 3rd Scouting Force P-51s provide escort to B-17 of 96th Bomb Group.

Photo: Russell Abbey
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Capt. Andrew W Fuller. 3rd Scouting Force, ex 486th Bomb Group. P-51D 44-14783 CG-C. Capt. Fuller seen here with his crew chief.

Photo: Andy Fuller
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Capt. Andrew W Fuller. 3rd Scouting Force, ex 486th Bomb Group. P-51D 44-14783 CG-C.

Photo: Ray Shewfelt
  
Littlefriends.co.uk P-51D 44-15048 CL-A/ crash-landed at an advanced landing field near Le Havre, France codenamed "Apricot" on 21 February 1945. Pilot involved is currently unknown.

Photo: Herbert M Covner, 552nd AAF Base Unit
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Slightly different angle to preceding photo giving a better view of the 3rd SF markings.

Photo: Herbert M Covner, 552nd AAF Base Unit
  
Littlefriends.co.uk P-51D 44-14184 CY-E/. Assigned pilot currently unknown but this a/c was known to have been flown by Capt. Ed Beaty on 3 February 1945.

Photo: Jim Neufeglise via Russell Abbey
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. William J “Bud” Searby Jr. 3rd Scouting Force, ex 487th Bomb Group. P-51D 44-14676 CL-I/ "Louise", named for his mother.

Photo: Bob Whiteley
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. William "Budd" Searby Jr. 3rd Scouting Force, ex 487th Bomb Group. P-51D 44-14676 CL-I/ "Louise".

Photo: Ken Rust
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Maj. Stanley E Gagon. 3rd Scouting Force, ex 447th Bomb Group. P-51D 44-14782 CY-# "La Verne". The assigned pilot of “Sashay & Sal”, used as a backdrop here, has not been identified.

Photo: Neil Fitzsimons
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Maj. Stanley E Gagon. 3rd Scouting Force, ex 447th Bomb Group. P-51D 44-14782 CY-# "La Verne". Most likely named for LaVerne Andrews of the Andrews Sisters vocal group. Crew member on the left is S/Sgt. Leonard Davidson. Other crewman currently unknown.

Photo: Davidson Family via Russell Abbey
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Maj. Stanley E Gagon. 3rd Scouting Force, ex 447th Bomb Group. P-51D 44-14782 CY-# "La Verne". Maj. Gagon observes crew chief making adjustments to his new K-14 gunsight.

Photo: Bob Whiteley
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Capt. Clifford J Manlove. 3rd Scouting Force, ex 490th Bomb Group. P-51D 44-14249 CY-P "June Bug".

Photo: Cliff Manlove
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Capt. Clifford J Manlove. 3rd Scouting Force, ex 490th Bomb Group. P-51D 44-14249 CY-P "June Bug". June Bug was Capt. Manlove's pet name for his wife.

Profile by Nick King
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. Richard “Dick” Jacobson (L) and Capt. Edward Unger (R) both ex 486th Bomb Group, congratulate each other on being assigned to the 3rd Scouting Force. Unger was the pilot of the B-17 "Five Grand" (the 5,000th B-17 produced by Boeing) and Jacobson the co-pilot. They both finished their tours with the 486th at the same time and both volunteered for the Scouting Force. Due to the disparity in their heights, with Ed being 6' 4" and Dick 5' 6", they were known as "Mutt and Jeff" from the popular cartoon characters of the time and named their P-51s accordingly.

Photo: Mrs Dorothy Unger
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Pilots refight a battle in the 3rd Scouting Force Snack Bar. (L to R) Tom Fitzsimons (ex 382 BG), John Stein (ex 390 BG) and Earl Degeneres (ex 487 BG) recount aerial exploits while corporal Klein looks on in the background. Tragically, Fitzsimons and Stein were killed shortly after this photo was taken and until recently, Degeneres was thought to have been killed as well. The Scouting Force history book is finished but the search goes on for as yet undiscovered Scouts. The latest find, Earl Degeneres of the 3rd Scouting Force, was indeed an astounding episode. Dick Atkins received a call from Neil Fitzsimons, brother of 3rd Scout Tom Fitzsimons, stating that he had found a letter from Earl to Tom's mother dated 23 May 1945. The astounding part was that Earl was reported KIA in April 1945! Dick immediately hit the computer, launched into a telephone search and found Earl's brother on the 3rd call. He gave Earl's number in Oregon and they were talking moments later. Earl has attended the reunions since 1997 in San Antonio. Investigations are still underway concerning the 1945 report of Earl's death.

Photo: Dick Atkins
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. Anthony Klasinski. 3rd Scouting Force, ex 385th Bomb Group. P-51D 44-##### CL-J “My Little Angel”.

Photo: Tony Klasinski
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. Anthony Klasinski. 3rd Scouting Force, ex 385th Bomb Group. P-51D 44-##### CL-J “My Little Angel”. Lt. Klasinski seen with his crew chief on return from one of his 46 missions with the 3rd SF.

Photo: Tony Klasinski
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Capt. Thomas L Fitzsimons. 3rd Scouting Force, ex 382nd Bomb Group. Capt. Fitzsimons was killed in action on 20th April 1945 when his tail section was severed from the fuselage by flak near Utrecht. At a height of only 200 ft he was unable to bail out and was killed in the crash. Capt. Fitzsimons lies in Maargraten American Cemetery, The Netherlands.

Photo: Neil Fitzsimons
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Capt. Orvid V Lancaster. 3rd Scoting Force Operations Officer, ex 385th Bomb Group. Details of Capt. Lancaster’s assigned P-51 are currently unknown.

Photo: Andy Fuller
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. Luverne F Abendroth. 3rd Scouting Force, ex 486th Bomb Group. Flew 42 missions with 3SF but details of assigned a/c currently unknown. He is seen here being congratulated by Vince Masters.

Photo: Mike Rebesman
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Capt. William B Owen. 3rd Scouting Force, ex 96th Bomb Group. P-51D 44-14124 CL-# “Homer’s Roamer” namd for crew chief S/Sgt. Homer Cheek.

Photo: Bob Whiteley
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. Edward Beaty. 3rd Scouting Force, ex 447th Bomb Group. P-51D “Miss Corky” named for his wife. Serial # and code currently unknown.

Photo: Ed Beaty
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. William W Patton Jr. 3rd Scouting Force, ex 94th & 388th Bomb Groups. Lt. Patton was killed in action on 15 January 1945 when his P-51D 44-15331 CL-# crashed at La Longueville, France. The wreck, complete with Lt. Patton's remains were discovered some 56 years later on 22 February 2001. See following photos. On 15 January 1945, Lt. Patton, who had joined the Scouting Force only 3 weeks prior to the fatal a mission, was flying as wingman to Lt. Bryan Booker on a mission to Munich. On the return leg, the pair were down to about 1200 feet when fog was encountered. Booker alerted Patton by radio that he was turning left; Patton did not respond. Booker did not see or hear from him again. Assuming that Patton had landed in France, no action was taken until the 18 January when a Missing Air Crew Report was issued. In the report, Lt. Booker stated that he believed that Lt. Patton had become disoriented and spun in and evidence at the crash site supports that assumption. Early newspaper reports identified the aircraft and pilot as "bullet riddled," a claim that even then seemed highly questionable given the altitude and weather conditions leading to the crash.

Photo: courtesy of Patton Family
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Excavation site of 44-15331giving an indication of the amount of 0.50 ammunition to be recovered.

Photo: Adjutant Michel Archimbault, Gendarmerie Nationale
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Five machine guns recovered from the crash site. The sixth has still not been accounted for.

Photo: Adjutant Michel Archimbault, Gendarmerie Nationale
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Identification plate recovered from the site confirming the P-51 as 44-15331.

Photo: Adjutant Michel Archimbault, Gendarmerie Nationale
  
Littlefriends.co.uk The remains of Lt. Patton, known to his family in Stella, Missouri as "Junior", are greeted by an Honour Guard on return to the US for his final resting place. The Patton family, which consists of a Sister-in-law, a Brother-in-law and several Nieces, received the news of his discovery with shock and sadness, softened by a sense of closure. 56 years is a long time to wait for news of the fate of a loved one.

Photo: Dick Atkins
  
Littlefriends.co.uk A 1947 agreement made between France and America states that all materials of the American Air Corps removed from French soil would remain the property of the US Air Force. The remains of P-51D 44-15331 have therefore been officially given to the Fort de Leveau Museum at Feignies, close to La Longueville where it met its end. A visit to see the exhibit should be included in any proposed visit to Northern France. Photo shows part of the exhibit dedicated to Lt. Patton.

Photo: Adjutant Michel Archimbault, Gendarmerie Nationale
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Another view of the Patton exhibit showing how well preserved the Merlin engine was. Note also seat armour plate and oxygen bottles recovered.

Photo: Adjutant Michel Archimbault, Gendarmerie Nationale
  
Littlefriends.co.uk The French team responsible for the preservation and presentation of the Patton exhibit. From L-R Cédric Deroo; Jean Jarosz, Mayor of Feignies; Guillaume Lemaitte; Patrick Camberlin, Curator of the Fort Museum and Adjutant Michel Archimbault. Cédric Deroo and Guillaume Lemaitte are two students who spent their summer holidays working on the project.

Photo: Adjutant Michel Archimbault, Gendarmerie Nationale
  
Littlefriends.co.uk The story came up to date on 15 January 2003 when a memorial was unveiled at the crash site by Connie Patton, William Wyatt Patton's niece. On the same day, the exhibit at Fort de Leveau, Feignies was officially inaugurated. This web site author Peter Randall accompanied by his daughter Mme. Karina Rase, had the honour of representing the Scouting Force Association at the ceremonies. Photo shows Connie Patton being presented with the flag that covered her uncle's memorial, by M. Michel Prévot, Mayor of La Longueville.

Photo: Little Friends
* Additional data
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Due to the on-site database not permitting the easy insertion of additional material into the correct order, latter additions to the gallery will be added here, as received and in no particular order.

 
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Col. Bud Peaslee. SFX/1SF, ex 384th BG. P-51D 44-13283 5E-A "Carolyn Ann". Seen here following the formation of 1SF with the unit code now changed from the original YF-A. This a/c was lost on 10 January 1945 with Lt. William J Doherty being killed in action.

Photo: Martin Kyburz (Swiss Mustangs)
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt.Col. John A Brooks III. Commanding Officer 2nd Scouting Force, ex 96th Combat Bomb Wing. P-51D 44-14309 YF-X "Calamity Jane" (L) "Punkin" (R).

Photo: Ray Shewfelt
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Capt. Robert T Hall, 3rd Scout Force. P-51D 44-14278 CL-N. Capt Hall was killed in action flying this aircraft on 18 January 1945.

Photo: Dick Atkins
* Additional data
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. Edward J “Jack” Hitt, 3rd Scout Force, ex 96th BG. Assigned a/c currently unknown but Jack was involved in a landing accident at Wormingford on 8 April 1945 whilst flying Lt. DeGeneris’ P-51D 44-63204 CY-F/.

Photo: Jerry Bolton
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Additional photo of P-51D 44-14184 CY-E/. Illustrated higher up the page showing the individual code letter much more clearly.

Photo: Russell Abbey
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. Orvid V Lancaster 3rd Scouting Force, ex385th BG. P-51D 44-14598 CL-K/.

Photo: Steve Lancaster
  
Littlefriends.co.uk P-51B 42-106727 5E-T of 1SF Clobber College. It was later named "Terrible Tommie" due to code letter "T".

Photo: NARA
  
Littlefriends.co.uk P-51B 42-106727 5E-T of 1SF Clobber College. It was later named "Terrible Tommie" due to code letter "T".

Profile: Zbigniew Kolacha
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Capt. Leonard H Monefeldt, Racine, WI, 2nd Scouting Force (ex 448th BG). It is not known if Capt. Monefeldt had an assigned P-51 but he was unfortunately killed on 24 March 1945 when returning from a mission to Nordhorn, Germany. At the time he was flying P-51D 44- 14441 WR-S “Ellen II”, assigned to Lt. Glen D Lindley, when he suffered engine failure on approach to Steeple Morden. He hit a tree just 2 miles short of the runway and was fatally injured in the ensuing crash.

Photo: Bill Marshall
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt.Col. John A Brooks III. Commanding Officer 2nd Scouting Force, ex 389th Bomb Group & 96th Combat Bomb Wing. P-51D 44-14309 YF-X "Calamity Jane" (L) "Punkin" (R). Nice view of Lt.Col. Brooks in the cockpit displaying the victory markings for his 2 x Me109’s destroyed SE of Magdeburg on 9 February 1945.

Photo: Rick Wilson
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt.Col. John A Brooks III. Commanding Officer 2nd Scouting Force, ex 389th Bomb Group & 96th Combat Bomb Wing. P-51D 44-14309 YF-X "Calamity Jane" (L) "Punkin" (R). Lt.Col. Brooks is seen here with his ground crew: Crew Chief S/Sgt. K T Watson behind cockpit, Assistant Crew Chief S/Sgt. Perry S Wilson on wing and Armorer Phil Perlman standing.

Photo: Rick Wilson
* Additional data
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Lt. Friend F Wilson, Indio, CA. 3rd Scouting Force, ex 94th Bomb Group. P-51D 44-##### CG-P/ “Miss Vera”, named for his sister. The serial number of this Mustang is still under research.

Photo: Vince Masters
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Status Board of SFX at Steeple Morden showing aircraft assignments to pilots, crew chiefs, radio call signs and engine numbers. Note the Squadron Call “Borax” and Station Call “Two Room” erroneously stated in some publications to be “Tool Room”. Flying the desk is Operations NCO S/Sgt. Bob Hudson.

Photo: Jason Collins
  
Littlefriends.co.uk SFX Briefing Room at Steeple Morden with the map marked out for an intended mission to the Paris area.

Photo: Jason Collins
  
Littlefriends.co.uk 1SF pilots gather in the SF Briefing Room at Honington in preparation for a mission to the Berlin area.

Photo: Jason Collins
  
Littlefriends.co.uk 1SF Briefing Room at Honington with pilots being briefed on navigational details by Lt. Harold Strain, 1SF Navigation Officer, for a mission to the Berlin area. Proposed course is marked out on the large map of Europe.

Photo: Jason Collins
  
Littlefriends.co.uk The briefing continues with Intelligence Officer (S-2) Capt. Robert Van Beynum giving details of known flak concentrations to be avoided, and likely areas for enemy fighter attack. Note that the mission is to be led By Capt. Dale McCrory as “Buckeye Red”. Start engines is due at 09.30, take off at 09.40 and set course at 09.50. Runway in use is Honington’s number 28 and VHF authentication is “Live Bait”.

Photo: Jason Collins
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Last item on the briefing agenda is the weather forecast by Lt. Herman “Stormy” Meyer, Staff Weather Officer. The mission itself will give accurate weather conditions over the target area and thus increase the percentage of accuracy for the weather officer who, like most others at the time, had to live with being the butt of pilot jokes that they were half right, fifty percent of the time.

Photo: Jason Collins
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Capt. Dale McCrory, Anita, IA, 1SF (ex 381st BG). P-51D 44-14895 9H-# “The Cis-Peg Rocket”. The code letter for this aircraft is currently unknown, as are the names of the ground crew members. Cis and Peg are the start of the cc and acc wife's name.

Photo: Jason Collins
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Capt. Dale McCrory, Anita, IA, 1SF (ex 381st BG). P-51D 44-14895 9H-# “The Cis-Peg Rocket” illustrating the name “Scotty” on the right side. Scotty is Capt. McCrory's nickname and is unusual to be seen on the right side, which was normally considered to belong to the crew chief, with the pilot having the left. This aircraft was lost on 12th April 1945 when Lt. William D Hall was forced to bail out over the Baldock/Royston area due to systems failure. Lt. Hall was also an ex 381st BG pilot.

Photo: Jason Collins
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Capt. Dale McCrory, Anita, IA, SFX (ex 381st BG). P-51D 44-13532 YF-P which became N2-P on formation of 1SF. It was lost on 22nd October 1944 when Lt. Frank J Hoder became a POW. Position of Spitfire mirror on the windscreen housing is typical of that favoured within the 355th FG.

Photo: Jason Collins
  
Littlefriends.co.uk Capt. Dale McCrory, Anita, IA, SFX (ex 381st BG). P-51D 44-13532 YF-P. Dale is seen here wearing his A2 with the 352nd BS patch from his days with the 381st BG. The “Invasion Stripes” on the wing underside date this as being taken at Steeple Morden with the SFX.

Photo: Jason Collins
  
Littlefriends.co.uk 1SF Operations Room at Honington. Col Bud Peasley discusses matters with an unidentified member of the team. On the “blower” is Operations NCO T/Sgt. Steve Bullsitis.

Photo: Jason Collins
  


peter.randall@littlefriends.co.uk